Danny Jeram gives us a preview of forthcoming gogglebox delights.
What is it?: Community – Season 3.
When does it start?: May 3, 11pm, Sony TV.
Why should I watch it?: Currently mid-way through its fourth season in the US, Community will finally make its Season 3 premiere in the UK early next month. Created by Dan Harmon and regularly directed by Emmy-Award winners Joe and Anthony Russo, Community is a smart, reference-heavy comedy series about a group of misfit students blagging their way through Greendale Community College.
The study group is a great ensemble made up of smarmy ex-lawyer Jeff (Joel McHale), wannabe anarchist Britta (Gillian Jacobs), pop-culture obsessed Abed (Danny Pudi), single mother Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown), compulsive over-achiever Annie (Alison Brie), former high school quarterback Troy (Donald Glover), and bored millionaire Pierce (Chevy Chase). Season 3 adds John Goodman as Vice Dean Laybourne and The Wire’s Michael K. Williams as Professor Kane to this memorable group of characters, as well as guest appearances from Breaking Bad’s Giancarlo Esposito, cult icon Michael Ironside, and many more.
Comfortably up there in quality with other US comedies like Parks and Recreation, The Office and 30 Rock, even Community‘s worst episodes are better than most comedies out there. Highlights from Seasons 1 and 2 include some truly epic paintball episodes, a heart-warming Dungeons and Dragons-themed instalment, a zombie (okay, rabies) Halloween special, Abed’s hilarious Batman impression, Annie’s Boobs (what? It’s the name of the monkey!), some classic Troy and Abed end tags, and countless side-splitting one-liners from Chase and The Hangover’s Ken Jeong.
What is it?: Hannibal - Season 1.
When does it start?: May 7, 10pm, Sky Living (episode 1 available on Sky On Demand from May 1).
Why should I watch it?: Recently reviewed on SquabbleBox and currently sporting an impressive 8.4/10 on IMDb, Thomas Harris’ classic novels come to life once again, this time with Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) stepping into the shoes of one of literature’s most fascinating characters. Written by Bryan Fuller (Pushing Daisies and Heroes), Hannibal tells the story of criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) as he teams with a psychiatrist, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, to help catch twisted and complicated killers. Unbeknownst to Graham, however, Lecter is already one of the most twisted serial killers there is.
From what’s been seen in trailers and reviews so far, Mikkelsen looks certain to put in a fantastically chilling turn as Lecter, making the role his own after the iconic performances of Sir Anthony Hopkins. Dancy and Laurence Fishburne (as FBI Agent Jack Crawford) also look sure to provide strong and engaging performances alongside Mikkelsen. Dark, gritty and well-written, Hannibal promises to leave its mark as one of the best new thrillers on TV, taking the mantle from the soon-to-be-departed Dexter as the serial killer show to tune into every week (despite a potential challenge from Psycho prequel series, Bates Motel).
What is it?: Friday Night Lights – Season 5.
When does it start?: May 14, 8pm, Sky Atlantic.
Why should I watch it?: The fifth and final season of the popular American sports drama brings Sky Atlantic’s back-to-back broadcast to an end. Adapted by Peter Berg, Brian Grazer and David Nevins, from the book and film of the same name, the series centres on the trials and tribulations of a small community obsessed with high school football. Although many episodes feature scenes of the latter, the show’s real charm lies in the drama off-pitch. After some big changes in Season 4 (most of the main characters graduated and Coach Eric Taylor moved from Dillon Panthers to East Dillon Lions), the final thirteen episodes will have plenty to wrap up.
Friday Night Lights features a huge cast of characters with as many flaws as good intentions. The show is full of recognisable faces, including Kyle Chandler (Super 8, Argo), Connie Britton (American Horror Story), Taylor Kitsch (John Carter, Battleship), and Breaking Bad’s trigger-happy Jesse Plemons. Chandler and Britton, in particular, put in consistently great performances as Coach Taylor and his wife Tami. Beautifully written, with plenty of dramatic and heart-warming moments, it is sure to be an emotional and hopefully satisfying end to a great show.
What is it?: Continuum – Season 2.
When does it start?: May 23, 9pm, SyFy UK.
Why should I watch it?: The Canadian science fiction series returns to continue the story of Kiera Cameron (Rachel Nichols), a detective from 2077, and a group of freedom fighters known as “Liber8″ after they are transported to 2012. Kiera teams up with Vancouver Police Department Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster) and a teenage tech genius, Alec Sadler (Erik Knudsen), to try and capture the Liber8 terrorists before they alter her future.
Written by Simon Barry, the show’s first season occasionally risked turning into a fairly standard cop show with futuristic gizmos added, but was overall a fun, well-executed, time-travelling thriller with a slick Life on Mars feel to it. Continuum’s use of time-travel constantly keeps you guessing as to whether Kiera’s presence in the past could risk the future as she knows it, or that it was always meant to be, much like Kyle Reese in The Terminator. It’s unlikely that Season 2 will answer all of our questions, but its sure to promise more cool action, more futuristic tech, more of Rachel Nichols looking pretty, and more about the repercussions of Kiera and Liber8’s actions.
What is it?: Arrested Development – Season 4.
When does it start?: May 26, 12am, Netflix.
Why should I watch it?: It’s Netflix to the rescue as TV’s most entertaining dysfunctional family are back. The Emmy Award-winning comedy series, originally cancelled by Fox, will return for its final season with a follow-up movie currently in development. Created by Mitchell Hurwitz back in 2003, Arrested Development tells the story of Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) and his family as he struggles to take over the Bluth real estate business after his father, George Bluth Sr (Jeffrey Tambor), is imprisoned.
Bateman and Tambor are set to reprise their roles along with Michael Cera, Jessica Walter, Will Arnett, Tony Hale, Portia de Rossi, David Cross and Alia Shawkat as the rest of the Bluth family. Many of the supporting characters will also be returning as well, with some new faces in the form of Kristen Wiig, Terry Crews and Isla Fisher.
Arguably one of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Arrested Development experienced widespread critical acclaim, including six Emmy Awards and one Golden Globe, along with a huge cult following. But it was unfortunately one of the many shows prematurely cancelled by Fox. Season 4 will undoubtedly bring back many of the recurring gags such as the family’s inability to dance like chickens, stair car hop-ons, Tobias’ never-ending innuendoes and double-entendres, George Michael’s Charlie Brown moments, and Gob’s magic tricks to name but a few.
No trailers yet for Season 4 yet, so here’s a list of Arrested Development‘s best running gags.